May 05, 2021
When did you join UTHealth? What brought you here?
I came to the Medical School in October of 2007 and was recruited from the University of Miami’s Department of Pediatrics. I answered a job posting with the MGMA. I was interviewed by Julie Page. I had never been to Texas before. I am originally from the Northeast and at the time was living in South Florida. I have been in pediatrics and health care since 1994. I had built my career in administration, outpatient capacity in an academic environment. My background with Jackson Memorial Hospital was suitable for Dr. Kevin Lally, dealing with Medicaid billing issues, working with critically ill pediatric patients.
Tell me about your work history here.
When I was hired here, I was the first DMO for the Department of Pediatric Surgery. Dr. Lally had decided to create his own department, and he had a vision to hire and focus on subspecialized pediatric surgeons. It offered unique support for Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. We started with pediatric neurosurgery, pediatric general surgery, and plastic surgery. We then grew to include pediatric congenital heart surgery, orthopedics, and urology. Expansion in all of those different specialties has created exceptional clinical care for Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. I partnered with Dr. Lally in recruitment efforts for some well-recognized surgeons who continue to work in these highly specialized clinical care areas. This makes the children’s hospital one of the most well-known care facilities in the country.
It has been challenging working during COVID – many have had to work remotely, and we can’t have people working as closely as they used to. Recently, we were able to acquire some research space at the SCRB, which was very positive because now our researchers are spread out and can still collaborate.
What are you most proud of accomplishing?
Our department has rapidly grown into a strong visible team within both clinical, academic, and research operations within the McGovern Medical School and UTHealth; it’s important. We also have our first fellow in pediatric neurosurgery program this year. Our pediatric general surgery fellowship program provides a wonderful learning environment for folks – I’m proud of that as well.
How has the university changed since you first joined?
Our department now has 110 employees. I think back on 2007, and how we have successfully recruited many talented employees who are highly skilled researchers and/or surgeons. We have hired not just physicians but advanced care providers, nurses, clinical staff, business administrators, and specialized research employees. We expanded our clinical service to many different areas outside of the Texas Medical Center. This has included many different hospitals – as far out as the Woodlands down to Corpus Christi. We have grown our clinical and research contracts and added specialties in the department. We have rapidly grown our research space with the SCRB, BBSB, and MSE buildings and recruited many research faculty in several of our divisions.
Why have you stayed?
I really love what I do. We have a wonderful team of folks in our department. It consists of great management, clinical, research, and administrative teams. We are very fortunate to be working with the physicians and researchers we work with. Our common goal is to cure pediatric patients who have chronic health conditions. Our team, who can range from a lab technician, an executive assistant, an advanced care provider, a nurse, or a highly specialized pediatric surgeon, all assist in care for this pediatric patient. Our patients may range from neonates to those in their mid-20s. This role makes a huge impact in our community here in Houston. Dr. Lally has been a wonderful person to work for. His expectations are clear, and we have that management style throughout the department.
When you are not at work, how do you spend your time?
I like to travel a lot, although I haven’t been traveling due to COVID as much. I have a chihuahua. I live nearby in Montrose, close to work.